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Hypercriminalization analysis
Topics: Sociology, United States / Pages: 2 (484 words) / Published: Dec 12th, 2014

Definitions Within the article, hyper-criminalization is defined as the process by which an individual’s everyday behaviors and styles become generally treated as deviant, risky, threatening, or illicit across social contexts. The youth control complex is a collective system based on racialized fears of young people of color, who, in turn, are negatively treated. The collateral consequences of mass incarceration are the extensive and built-up consequences of incarcerating large numbers of a specific minority group.
Analysis
In his ethnographic article “The Hyper-Criminalization of Black and Latino Male Youth in the Era of Mass Incarceration”, Victor M. Rios states in his main thesis, “Ultimately, in the era of mass incarceration, a “youth control complex” created by a network of racialized criminalization and punishment deployed from various institutions of control and socialization has formed to manage, control, and incapacitate Black and Latino youth”. To make his case and prove his thesis, Rios incorporates various examples proving his assertions, derived from his extensive ethnographic studies of Black and Latino youth in urban areas in the San Francisco Bay Area from 2002 to 2005. Rios justifies the term “hyper-criminalization” as he provides various instances in which it was implemented. For example, Rios explains the feeling of a “deviant youth” named Jose and his struggle with the phenomenon. After being labeled as a criminal, Jose explained the hyper-criminalized state in which he was surrounded- constantly watched and surveillance by probation officers and police once released from incarceration. Although he was not participating in criminalistics behavior, he was still treated like a criminal, as if hanging out at recreational centers were a “deviant” behavior. The article also incorporates multiple statistics demonstrating the exceptional rate in which poor, minority youth are incarcerated. According to the article, colored youth in California are “2.5 times more likely than white kids to be tried as adults and 8.3 times more likely to be incarcerated by adult courts”. Rios’ implementation of statistics such as this, strives to exemplify the growing pandemic of mass incarceration and the collateral consequences of it as it breaks up communities and families, and enforces social unrest and inequality. The article states “scholars have argued that…punishment and carceralization are at the center of racial inequality and social misery.” This statement relates to the ever-present problem on social and racial inequality. The fact that the incarceration rates are so high for Black and Latino youth presents the idea that they are regarded as lower and unequal to superior whites, and are therefore incarcerated as a method of oppression. However, one might argue, this article demonstrates social inequality in the sense that authority holds the power and can therefore target a group and keep them oppressed or “hidden away” through incarceration. Whatever the belief, mass incarceration is rooted in inequality due to the fact one group, whether whites or governmental authority, has more power than the other and neither experiences the same consequences statistically and social.

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